The last offshore section of the TurkStream natural gas pipeline between Russia and the Mediterranean was put in place on November 20th. The order was given by both Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, in a ceremony celebrating the completion of this first stage of the pipeline’s construction.
The ceremony, done via video call to the two leaders from a TurkStream venue, featured the two leaders giving the command “begin”, and immediately showing the final section being lowered into place.
The second phase of construction, which is based on land, starts now, with the twin 930 km pipelines expected to be in service by the end of 2019. It is estimated that the pipeline will deliver some 31 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year to Turkey. About half of that gas is destined for customers in Southeast Europe.
Unbeknownst to many Westerners, this region in Europe, which includes Turkey, Greece, and other countries in Southeastern Europe, has suffered significantly from lack of natural resources. The Turkstream pipeline is big news for these people, as President Putin stated in his speech, shown in the video.
The pipeline will also create a large “geopolitical boost” for Turkey itself since it will now be considered, in Mr. Putin’s words, a “serious European hub, which is bound to affect the geopolitical status of the Turkish Republic.”
This accomplishment shows once again, the rise of Russia as a geopolitical and economic great power in the region. While the West pontificates about the “threat” of Russia’s “authoritarian” regime, the citizens of many nations in southeastern Europe will get to have warm homes and a reliable supply of energy where none existed before.